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Med center experts release e-free book on quarantine

Four UNMC physicians who also have roles in the Global Center for Health Security at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, recently released a free e-book about quarantine available through Amazon and the University of Nebraska Press. The book came out just before the new coronavirus was discovered.

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The e-book, "Nebraska Isolation and Quarantine Manual," shares practical aspects of why, how and when to apply quarantine and isolation for conditions that warrant care in biocontainment or quarantine in one, easy-to-use source. It also includes the history of quarantine and its legal and ethical considerations.

The e-book was written and edited from lessons learned at UNMC and other places around the world during the West Africa Ebola virus outbreak.

The authors say the e-book is probably most useful for medical, nursing, and public health personnel who work in medical centers, clinics, in the community and for students in the health professions.

Ted Cieslak, M.D., Mark Kortepeter, M.D., Christopher Kratochvil, M.D., and James Lawler, M.D., co-edited the e-book and co-wrote chapters in the book, along with other colleagues around the world. It covers historical and legal aspects of quarantine and isolation on certain high consequence infectious diseases that might be considered for specialized care in a biocontainment unit.

To get the e-book

Here are instructions to get the e-book for free on Amazon's Kindle or from the University of Nebraska Press.

On Amazon.com, search "Nebraska Isolation and Quarantine Manual."

For a copy from the University of Nebraska Press, go to this site. Use discount code 6NQM when checking out.

To read the e-book, get Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) installed on your device. A free application can be downloaded and installed on your PC, Mac, tablet, and/or smartphone.

You will need to authorize your copy of ADE with an AdobeID. ADE should ask for your AdobeID when you first open the application. If not, go Help >> Authorize Computer/Device. You can use the AdobeID you use for other Adobe products or you can create an AdobeID for yourself.

"Given our experience in managing Ebola during the West African outbreak, the fact that we possess the nation's largest biocontainment unit, and we just opened the nation's first (and only) federal quarantine facility, we felt that we possessed the unique expertise necessary to produce such a book," said Dr. Cieslak, medical director of the National Quarantine Unit at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine. "Despite the voluminous nature of the medical literature, we could find no other text designed to be a practical resource for clinicians, policy makers, and public health officials in the field. We felt it was incumbent upon us to write one."

Dr. Kortepeter professor of epidemiology in the UNMC College of Public Health, said when the e-book was written, "We had no idea how timely the book arrival would be, given the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased this might be beneficial for medical personnel across the world in a time of need. There is not a lot of specific information about what diseases quarantine should and should not apply to, which is what makes this document even the more useful."

The University of Nebraska Press produced and is distributing the book.

"UNMC and Nebraska Medicine have expertise in quarantine and isolation. Given their past experience with Ebola and their current experience with Covid 19, we wanted to make sure that the expertise they've gathered is available free to others around the world," said Donna Shear, director, University of Nebraska Press.

Speaking with Dr. Kortepeter

While with the Army's biodefense lab at Fort Detrick, Md., Mark Kortepeter, M.D., has dealt with the 2001 anthrax attacks, a threat to the White House, smallpox preparation for war, Ebola and many other challenges. He just returned from an assignment with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization to advise health ministers in the Caribbean about COVID-19.

"For me this is what I do, so in some ways it's another day in the office. It's partly what we live for and prepare for regularly. As I like to say, I'm no stranger to exotic viruses. This is the next test, the next outbreak to deal with."

Working in times of a pandemic is normal for him, he said.

"When I was doing my internal medicine training, we were dealing with HIV in the city of Newark. I was more frightened then than now. At least with this virus, we have a good sense of how it spreads, as well as other viruses like this one. There are more knowns than unknowns at this point. The biggest challenge with COVID-19 is its ease of transmission combined with its overall fatality rate and severity in certain high risk populations. It's lower than things like Ebola, but because it's highly transmissible, the damage worldwide can be greater.

What precautions does an infectious disease expert do to avoid getting coronavirus?

"I understand doing the beneficial things versus those that are not. Beneficial -- keep the hands away from the face, wash hands frequently, stay away from sick people and keep my distance from them (six feet)."

Asked why the virus spreads so easily, he said one reason is people don't have immunity to it -- such as a vaccine or prior exposure -- to block the spread. "We're a society that's highly interconnected with travel, human interaction, and the virus takes advantage of that. I liken it to a highway. With something like influenza, where there is some prior immunity or vaccines, there may be slowing of spread like having toll booths. But there are no toll booths to stop coronavirus. It's an open highway, with nothing to block the spread."

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